So I’ve been a bit quiet recently, but I promise you, I have been doing some very bookish things!
The last two weeks I’ve been working for the Come Out Festival, a South Australian festival that is just for children. My role was a project coordinator/tour manager for ‘Kid’s Own Publishing’, a company that runs workshops that teaches children to make, write, and illustrate their own books, and then ‘publishes’ them. (In this case, the book is published using a colour photocopier, but the right intention is there).
For two weeks I have been taking these workshops to regional libraries across South Australia, as well as libraries within Adelaide. I’ve travelled from Port Pirie to Kingston, Yorketown to Bordertown, Tea Tree Gully to Victor Harbor. I’ve worked with approximately 500 kids, from four year olds to twelve year olds, and let me tell you, they all have exciting ideas about what should go into their own book. Most kids need no prompting as to what to write a book about. I’ve seen books about unicorns, magic forests, scary forests, dragons, monsters, dinosaurs, chickens, minecraft (a computer game… don’t worry I didn’t know what it was either until two weeks ago), dogs, cats, birds, happy people, lonely people, people making friends, people fulfilling their dreams. There is something quite astonishing about a book written by a seven year old or a nine year old – their stories may only be one hundred words, but most kids seem to understand the basic building blocks of a story (character, setting, a problem, beginning, middle, end) and create simple but lovely stories.
What have i learnt about what children want to read about, based on what they write about? Children’s stories don’t have to have happy ending. Lots of the kid’s own stories ended with people dying, sometimes tragically, sometimes comically. Also, friendship is very important to children. I can’t tell you the number of books that involved a character being lonely at the beginning, and ending up with a friend.
You can have a look at what Kid’s Own Publishing is all about here.